Polis vetoes bill requiring commercial, multifamily buildings to have electric car charging stations | Governor
Gov. Jared Polis added another veto to his 2022 list, turning down a bill that would have required certain commercial buildings and multifamily residences to include electric vehicle charging stations, depending on the building’s size.
House Bill 1218 would have applied to new high-occupancy buildings, as well as to renovation of 50% or more of an existing high-occupancy building.
In his veto letter, Polis wrote that he fears the bill would result in higher housing costs at a time when Coloradans are struggling to afford them.
HB 1218 also “does not include enough flexibility to adapt to changing infrastructure,” the governor wrote.
While installing EV chargers up front can be less expensive over the long run, requiring it would result in higher costs, he said.
“We also need an approach to charging infrastructure that recognizes the different uses and needs of different buildings and communities across the state,” he said.
Polis noted he has already signed a similar bill, House Bill 1362, on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That measure requires new model code language for low energy and carbon, electric vehicle and solar and “green codes.” HB 1362 sets up a process to develop EV charging standards and pre-wiring requirements, with options to update those codes as technology evolves.
However, HB 1218, the vetoed measure, does not have that same flexibility, and locks in “precise requirements regardless of changing technology,” Polis wrote.
Polis also wanted HB 1218 to address areas of most usage of EV charging, not just new buildings, pointing to public charging, charging at state parks and at existing and new buildings and parking lots, to go along with his goal of having fast EV charging available within 30 miles of any location in Colorado.
Polis encouraged lawmakers to come back in 2023 with a variation that would “provide more flexibility for changing technologies and that we could be clear with research would save people money.”
That flexibility, Polis said, would need to include an ability for buildings to substitute a smaller number of spaces for “fast chargers” spaces, allowing local agencies to “reduce the wiring and service requirements,” more options for commercial buildings with different parking patterns and uses, and allow the Energy Code board created under HB 1362 to modify requirements to match new standards.
He also encouraged manufacturers or utilities to share with developers some of those up-front construction costs for conduits and pre-wiring in exchange for discounted future charger installation and other considerations.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver, and Sens. Faith Winter, D-Westminster and Kevin Priola, R-Henderson.
The veto drew unhappy reaction from Colorado Community for Climate Actions and its 39 local government members.
CC4CA President and Clear Creek County Commissioner George Marlin said in a statement that “electric vehicles are an important part of solving Colorado’s housing and transportation challenges. Customers start saving money the minute they hop in the driver’s seat, and the flurry of new, inexpensive EVs on the market makes them widely accessible. Because it is so much cheaper to incorporate EV charging on a new building than to retrofit later, this bill would have helped ensure that Coloradans of all income levels have access to the benefits of electric vehicles.”
Despite the veto, Marlin said his organization looks forward to working with the legislature and the governor on an updated version of the bill.
Polis has now vetoed four measures introduced in the 2022 session. He has until Friday to complete bill signings or vetoes, or allow bills to become law without his signature.